“We were overwhelmed,” reveals producer Kimberly Steward during our recent webcam chat (watch above) when asked about the six Oscar nominations accrued by her film “Manchester by the Sea”, including for Best Picture. “You set out to do a film, you set out to make an awesome one, and to heed the awards and accolades, and to be received well by your peers, other filmmakers and people in the industry, feels really good.” Steward has an historic opportunity as only the second African American woman nominated for producing, following Oprah Winfrey for “Selma” (2014). “In some ways, I’ve been trying to follow in her footsteps,” she admits. “I’m grateful to even be considered in a group with her, and hopefully we both keep breaking those glass ceilings, and provide opportunities for others.”
When Steward first read director Kenneth Lonergan‘s script about a man (Casey Affleck) returning home to care for his estranged nephew (Lucas Hedges), she immediately wanted to produce it. She likened it to “those throwback Hollywood classics” she’d loved as a teenager, like Best Picture winner “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979). “Kenny is such a great writer,” she divulges, “and he really captured the authenticity of family dynamics, and what someone would go through when they have suffered through such tragedy.”
“Manchester by the Sea” competes in six categories, including Best Director (Lonergan), Best Actor (Affleck), Best Supporting Actor (Hedges), Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), and Best Original Screenplay (Lonergan). Steward shares her nomination with producers Matt Damon, Lauren Beck, Chris Moore, and Kevin J. Walsh.
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